Former defence minister in the Levy Mwanawasa government George Mpombo says Zesco’s planned load shedding will have severe consequences on the economy.

Recently, Zesco Spokesperson Henry Kapata said the Kariba power plant would shut by November if the utility company did not reduce generation.

And in an interview, Monday, Mpombo said load shedding would create colossal economic challenges.

“The decision will create colossal economic challenges because power or electricity is a driver of the economy and once you load shade on a large scale, it means that business operations are affected, companies will start paying workers for doing nothing because of load shedding and production schedules will be disrupted, and people will be greatly inconvenienced. So while that may be understood, it’s important for Zesco to expand their horizons, but certainly, the route is very costly. It has severe repercussions on the economy and on the quality of life, productivity, it’s going to have severe consequences on the economy,” Mpombo said.

He urged Zesco to expedite its Zambezi River Hydro power expansion project.

“It is also important for Zesco to expedite the expansion of the hydro power sector. They have a joint project on the Zambezi with Zimbabwe, that project once implemented could bring something like 18, 000 mega watts of power. So the solution to this is to invest more in hydro power generation [otherwise] any other measures will be cosmetic and expensive to the economy,” said Mpombo.